Courageous Communication is the willingness to say and do things that may be difficult but are honest and need to be said or shared. It is the ability to look inside and see the areas of strength and challenge that we all face. The weaknesses or shortcoming we all have and own them and embrace them.
It is looking past the shortcomings of loved ones and seeing them in the struggle and supporting them through that. It is the honesty to say when we have been hurt or let down, the ability to say “No that is not ok with me.”
It is acknowledging our own shortcomings, failures, wins, strengths and lessons to be learned. It is seeing the journey, not just wanting to be at the destination. Now this is not easy. Believe me, each time an opportunity to be Courageous has shown up, I have had to decide do I stay, or do I run?
One of my memories of that opportunity to be Courageous was when I was going through Relationship breakdown and I had not told anyone what was going on. No one.
I was busy parading my seemingly perfect life at work and in front of friends and family. I was married, working, studying my second degree and my life was falling apart. My husband was an alcoholic and we were sinking fast. He was unable to keep a job, and I was working 2 jobs to keep up with our mortgage and investment property obligations.
Have you ever tried to keep up a charade like this? It is exhausting, completely exhausting. Not only was I struggling with the lie I was living, but also I was alone as I had no supports. By keeping everyone out I also kept my supports away.
When my Counselor challenged me about my “dishonesty” (at the time this part really stung) and encouraged me to let my Mum in, I was feeling really torn. I felt this false sense of protection over her (she was really unwell with terminal cancer at the time) and I had so much to own up to, this was going to hurt.
I went to visit and sat down with her. I took a deep breathe and began…… She did what Mums do, she listened and she loved me. She cried, we cried… we hugged and she thanked me for finally telling her what she had been trying to guess for so long.
You see, as a Parent, she knew something was up. She just didn't know what. Her imagination had been free to conjure up all sorts of awful possibilities. She was relieved to hear the truth. She was also sad that I hadn’t let her in. I tried to explain that I was protecting her and she listened with a tear in her eye. You see, all she wanted was to protect me!
In an instant I realised that all of my fears about opening up to her were unfounded. Yes, she was hurt, but she was more relieved to be able to finally support me. The fears that I had been telling myself to justify my actions were all a lie! I big fat lie…
What a relief it was to share! What a weight lifted off of my shoulders. So I decided to let my other family members and close friends know too.
Being Courageous, doing what is right, is not always easy, is not always beautiful but it is what is necessary for healthy connections and real relationships. Don't fall for the lie, in fact when you catch yourself justifying your behavior that is a pretty good warning sign.
Until next time, Care Connect and be a Courageous Communicator. Let’s change the world for the better one conversation at a time.